Using the igus experience in plastics for motion, the bike is intended to be constructed and supplied by authorized partners. Because of this, igus has made the engineering design and all critical components accessible to all bicycle makers via the new igus: bike platform. The first model ought to be obtainable by the time the year ends.
Igus: the bike was designed to solve a critical issue: the planet is now submerged in plastic trash. Vast mountains of trash made of plastic are rapidly amassing in landfills. Some of this plastic winds up in the ocean, where it has the potential to be ingested by marine life, other animals, and even humans, posing a threat to all of their lives. Businesses need to transition away from the traditional linear economic model that has been used and toward a completely circular economy.
Igus, a company that specializes in motion plastics, has spent many years investing in concepts for recycling plastics to facilitate this shift.
At this year’s Engineering Expo, the business will debut a product that is a first of its kind anywhere in the world: a tough and long-lasting urban bike that is built entirely of plastic, from the frame to the bearings to the toothed belt.
The fact that the recycled version of the new bike will be mainly composed of recycled “single-use” plastics is going to be a standout feature of the product.
According to Frank Blase, the Chief Executive Officer of igus, “Plastic discovered in waste dumps throughout the globe is becoming a lucrative resource.” While on vacation, he was lying on a beach when he received the first inspiration for what would later become the “igus: bike.” During his conversations with a bike rental company located on the beach, he gained knowledge of the primary challenges they faced with beach bikes.
These challenges included constant exposure to sand, wind, and saltwater, and certain parts only lasted approximately three months before they needed to be replaced. The process of maintenance and replacement takes up much time and maybe rather expensive for a business like a bike rental company.
The igus: bike, unlike other bicycles, does not rust.
Owning and maintaining an igus: the bike is far simpler than doing so with any other bike. The owners of the single-speed cycle may keep it outside in any weather, and it can be cleaned with a garden hose in a matter of seconds.
According to Blase, “since all components are made of plastic, not even the gears rust because there is no metal anywhere on the bike.” For a very long time, the idea of making bicycle gears out of plastic seemed unfathomable.
High-performance polymers that are both lightweight and lubrication-free are used in every bicycle component. Two-component ball bearings are used in the wheel bearings, while plain bearings are used in the seat post, brake levers, and pedals.
Without using even a single drop of lubricating oil, this low-friction dry operation is made possible by incorporating solid lubricants into each component. This prevents sand, dust, and grime from accumulating, which would clog up the operating elements of the machine.
Tribo-plastics manufactured by Igus has a long history of successful application and are now used in over seventy different industries, including the automotive, agricultural, and robotics sectors.
Plastic components have been helpful in the bicycle business for years, such as in applications such as mountain bikes and e-cargo bikes. As a result, the bicycle industry has been one of its biggest supporters for many years.
Innovation informed by the practical knowledge gained from industry
Eight designers are now toiling away in the research and development laboratory of igus on the many movable components of the all-plastic bicycle. Andreas Hermey, the development manager for energy chains, is working closely with the Dutch cycling start-up MTRL to coordinate the production of ball bearings, brakes, sprockets, gears, and drives.
This coordination is taking place in close collaboration with MTRL. Existing technologies from igus that have been tried and proven were converted for use in the new application. The result is components made of plastic that operate smoothly, are quiet, and are long-lasting. These components provide suppliers all over the world the opportunity to profit from the igus: bike platform.
A platform for makers of bicycles and bike components
Blase claims they want to make it possible for the cycling business to build bikes made of plastic. Bicycle manufacturers from across the globe now have the possibility to collaborate on the development of this technology thanks to the igus:bike platform.
The online platform provides ongoing updates on the status and advancement of all components and expressly welcomes market participants to take part in the process. The purpose of the platform is to serve as a point of contact for manufacturers who wish to construct bicycles out of plastic as well as for producers of components that are appropriate for use in such bicycles, such as plastic frames, wheels, drives, and pinions.
The platform is already acting as a host for first business partnerships, such as Helix.eco, which focuses on recycled plastics. There will be many more after them.
It is anticipated that the first fully functional model will be ready by the end of the year.
Founders Johannes and Benjamin Alderse Baas are partners that share our mission totally, according to Blase, who is also an investor in MTRL. Another partner is the Dutch start-up MTRL, which has already been successful in introducing 400 bicycles on the roads of the Netherlands that have plastic frames and wheels. “Founders Johannes and Benjamin Alderse Baas” “Collaboratively, we are perfecting the all-plastic bicycle,” the author writes.
By the end of this year, the new bicycle company will begin manufacturing a children’s model and an adult bicycle designed for use in urban areas. The production motorcycles are scheduled to debut in Germany at the beginning of 2023.
Alternate iterations, such as an electric bicycle, are also in the works. In the future, the bike made entirely of plastic will come in not just a new plastic kind but also one built entirely of recycled material. Plastic salvaged from used fishing nets was used to construct the prototypes, which were then successfully manufactured and evaluated.
A premium of EU200 will be added to the price of the recycled-plastic adult bike, bringing the total to €1,200 for the virgin-plastic adult model. MTRL is working on developing manufacturing facilities close to plastic dumps all over the globe. “From ocean plastics to motion plastics – the igus: bike idea has what it takes to become a high-tech ecological product,” adds Blase.
” The Igus: Bike idea has the potential to develop into a high-tech and environmentally friendly product.”
“The owner would use their smartphone to check the remaining number of thousands of kilometers that the bike is capable of traveling. It is hoped that this would persuade a large number of those who still have reservations about plastic. He continues by saying, “We have a lot of other ideas, such as implementing condition monitoring utilizing igus smart plastics.”